Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Myanmar Protest, Violence Sparks Prayer Calls

The following is an excerpt from The Christian Post: (By Ethan Cole, Christian Post Reporter)

Christian organizations are calling for prayers for Myanmar after last week's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protestors who stood against the country's repressive regime.

Myanmar (Burma) is one of the world's most repressive as well as one of the poorest countries in Asia.

The junta is accused of persecuting of ethnic minorities, ordering crosses and churches to be destroyed, permitting child labor and human trafficking. They are also criticized for squashing the freedom of speech, assembly and worship, as well as holding more than 1,000 political prisoners – including Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Furthermore, the military regime is accused of sanctioning sexual violence against women of ethnic minorities.

Nearly half of the reported cases documented against women of the Chin ethnic minority were gang rapes, and at least a third were committed by officers, according to U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The Chin population in Burma is about 90 percent Christian and is severely persecuted by Burma's traditionally pro-Buddhist military regime.

Myanmar has one of the world's worst religious freedom records and is repeatedly designated by the State Department as a "country of particular concern" (CPC) – the worst religious freedom violator label. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent U.S. government agency, advised Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in May to again include Burma on this year's CPC list.

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